Why Do Other Dogs, Even Nice Ones, Attack My Dog? – Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist
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Why do some dogs get picked on by other dogs?
That isn’t an easy question to answer. Sometimes it is something that your dog does, such as being rude to other dogs. Sometimes, there isn’t any observable thing that a human can determine.
Some dogs provoke dogs to not like them. They act rudely. Dogs like that do better after being trained and properly supervised around other dogs. If the dog is getting out of hand, the owner can tell their dog to “knock it off” and things will get back to happy and normal. I received a call today from a man with a Rottweiler and 4 pit bulls. When he let them out to potty first thing this morning, his male Rottweiler started humping one of the small female pits, and she attacked the Rottweiler. He lifted her by her rear feet and she let go. Then the other pit bulls attacked the Rottweiler, and he had to break that fight up. The Rottweiler was being rude to the pit. Female dogs don’t like unwanted sexual advances any more than human females like it from unwanted human male suitors. I talked to the owner about what he could do to prevent future fights like this, and we are setting up an evaluation of his “pack” to see how they are all meshing.
Some dogs are being attacked for biological reasons. It is not unusual for animals to attack sick animals. A sick lion will be driven off, and sometimes killed, by healthy lions, even though they all know one another and grew up together. Many dogs will react aggressively to someone who walks with a limp or other some other disability, such as a person with autism. Nature has a way of destroying the spread of diseases and genetic defects, and dogs may act aggressively if they sense something isn’t right. So, if your dog is getting these types of responses from other dogs, it could be a clue that something might be medically wrong with your dog.
Some dogs, however, don’t appear to do anything wrong, and they are still attacked by other dogs. I remember a 6 month old, friendly, playful, male Husky puppy I evaluated at a doggie daycare. The other dogs would pick on him, snarl at him, and keep putting him in his place. Even after many hours of observing the interactions, I couldn’t pinpoint what was causing this to happen. It didn’t happen with all dogs, but it did with other male dogs especially. So, the only solution was to keep him supervised, and if we saw other dogs picking on him, to get him out of that situation. The honest truth is that not all animal behavior can be explained by humans. Animals see things that we don’t see, smell things we can’t smell, interpret behaviors in ways we can’t pick up on. I couldn’t find the trigger, so the next best thing was to prevent the problem altogether. Anyone who claims they can figure out any dog behavior is lying to you. Read the writings of animal researchers, with PhD’s, studying the behavior of fish, cattle, apes, whales, dolphins, rodents, bees, birds, wolves, lions, hyena, and so forth. You’ll see over and over again that they admit, even after millions of dollars of research, and decades of record keeping, they don’t understand a lot of what is going on. So, they develop theories, but oftentimes even those theories don’t accurately predict future behavior. They just don’t know. If you talk to a trainer that says they know everything, then that is a clue that they really don’t know a thing except how to get dollar bills out of your wallet. I am never embarrassed to say “I don’t know”. That’s the truth sometimes.
So, why are other dogs picking on your dog? The first thing to do is hire a professional behaviorist to evaluate the situation. Usually there is a cause that can be figured out, and a solution that can be implemented. But sometimes, you just won’t know, and then you just have to protect your dog from harm.